President Rodrigo Duterte has sacked a member of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission who accused the Vice President of competing with the national government in providing relief during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Duterte, in an address to the nation late Friday evening, called PACC commissioner Manuelito Luna "stupid" for even broaching the idea.
"There are really stupid people. Leni was calling on the private sector, asking for help in providing relief. Now, I have someone at the PACC, Manuelito Luna, who wanted her investigated. Anak ng (son of a bitch), fire him," the President said.
"As of this moment he is no longer connected with PACC. The Vice President did not do anything wrong. Why should she be investigated? If the National Bureau of Investigation proceeds with the investigation, I will include you in my dismissal order," he added.
Luna on Thursday said that “being a part of the national government,” Robredo is barred from competing with the Department of Health and other agencies, “or undermining their efforts, and from soliciting donations, in cash or in kind, from the taxpaying public, especially since funds have already been appropriated or set aside for relief assistance, disaster mitigation, [and] rehabilitation.”
He said Robredo’s involvement in the COVID-19 response undermines the government’s efforts to address the crisis and must be investigated.
Robredo has been working with private companies and groups to raise funds to help frontline health workers amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“Robredo’s efforts, such as the provision of free shuttle service, dormitories and protective gear for health workers may be in violation of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 and the Solicitation Permit Law,” he said.
Robredo’s camp slammed the PACC official.
"The PACC statement is so ridiculous, so inappropriate, so out of touch, that I had to verify if it was really true. I am deeply disappointed that it was," Robredo's spokesman Barry Gutierrez said.
"Since Day One of the COVID-19 crisis, VP Leni has done all she can to help health workers, government institutions, and ordinary Filipinos overcome the challenges they have had to face due to the restrictions on travel, the shortages in supplies, and, of course, the ever-present threat of infection," he said in a statement.
The Vice President was able to mobilize the private personalities to help in the procurement of personal protective equipment for medical workers; provide free transportation for essential travel; buy extraction kits for the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine; offer food at police and military checkpoints, and even establish dormitories for health workers in need of a place near their hospitals, he said.
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